Using a cloud server for translation can be a game changer for your global business. Get to know all the features and benefits of cloud-based translation.
Are you thinking of moving your translation process to a cloud server? If so, you’d align with a fast-growing global trend: A vast majority of international IT decision-makers expect that 95% of all workloads will be in the cloud by 2025.
With this key figure in mind, it makes sense to dive deeper into cloud-based technology and get a better understanding of what it means for translation. That’s why this guide seeks to address the following:
- What is a cloud server?
- What is the difference between cloud servers and physical (dedicated) servers?
- What are the benefits of a cloud server?
- How does cloud-based translation work?
- The features of cloud-based translation tools.
- The advantages of cloud-based translation tools.
What is a cloud server?
A cloud server is a virtual server (instead of a physical one) that is built, hosted, and delivered by a cloud computing platform via the internet. All this is made possible thanks to virtualization. The latter enables creating a simulated, digital-only “virtual computer,” or virtual machine, behaving like a physical computer with its own hardware.
With a cloud server, client data and other resources are spread across multiple devices in different locations and can be accessed remotely. As a user, you don’t see these devices, but you can access them through a single, workable interface.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a typical example of a cloud service. You don’t need to install the application on your device. Yet, you can use it as you’d like, provided that you have an internet connection. Think Gmail, Slack, or Salesforce—to name a few.
There are 3 primary types of clouds
Cloud servers can be deployed in various types of clouds. The three primary ones are:
- Public cloud: In this configuration, a third-party provider owns and manages the servers and other infrastructure and gives its customers access to on-demand computing services. Think of it as an apartment building subdivided for tenants who use a certain amount of space and have access to utilities like electricity.
- Private cloud: A company hosts its own cloud servers privately and maintains control of their management and maintenance. These server resources aren’t shared with other organizations (contrary to public clouds). However, since they’re in the cloud, employees can access them remotely through the company intranet or VPN. Keeping with the housing metaphor, a private cloud is more like a house with a single tenant who can furnish the rooms as they see fit.
- Hybrid cloud: Public and private clouds can be combined with on-premise cloud servers and off-site cloud servers working together. This association can result in a custom environment that offers better performance, control, flexibility, and security at a lower cost.
The top 3 cloud service providers in 2021 are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
What is the difference between cloud servers and physical (dedicated) servers?
Dedicated servers don’t use virtualization technologies. All the computing and storage resources are based on physical server hardware and infrastructure. You can think of them as being like your laptop or desktop computer. They are meant for private use and are usually configured to meet a particular goal for a business. As the owner, you are typically given privileged user access over the entire system. You can access, install, and set up any software you’d like.
Dedicated servers are also a finite resource, consisting of fixed computing and storage capabilities, and are heavily dependent on server hardware specifications. This contrasts with the scalability of cloud servers. Another difference is the location—dedicated servers are typically located in a single data center, whereas cloud servers can be located in multiple data centers.
Dedicated servers are mostly used by large businesses and organizations. They require exceptionally high levels of data security or organizations with steady, high demands for server capacity. On the other hand, small and medium-sized companies benefit more from the flexibility of the cloud servers.
What are the benefits of a cloud server?
Now that you have a good idea of what cloud servers are, let’s dig deeper and look into the benefits of using one.
Access from wherever you need it, whenever you need it
Because your applications and files are on the cloud, you and your team can access them from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. This is great (not to say indispensable) for teams working remotely or when you are traveling. This is also invaluable if a laptop gets stolen or a virus attacks a PC. You don’t lose your company’s data, and you know it will be safe in the cloud, especially if you use security features like Single Sign-On or Two-Factor Authentication.
Working anytime isn’t always possible with a dedicated server. Your team’s productivity can suffer when server maintenance or upgrades are performed on dedicated servers because of the downtime period. No such problem with cloud servers, as systems are upgraded automatically—even while your team is using the platform.
With all files and data stored in the same location, you can easily collaborate with others and share your work. Team members can edit and update documents and applications in real-time, ensuring clear and constant access to the latest version. Google Docs is a great example of real-time collaboration.
In the cloud, your website is hosted on multiple servers, i.e. computers. Should a single piece of hardware go down, other computers can jump in right away to keep your website running. This makes cloud computing more reliable than the single-server configuration that a system failure can bring down in a second. Everyone would like to avoid the disaster of losing data or wasting precious time while waiting for a solution.
In a cloud-based environment, you can scale your data requirements, up or down, according to the variations in your business.
This can be done swiftly, especially with a monthly subscription. With such configuration, you can be sure you only pay for the services you actually use.
Scalability is also possible with a dedicated server, but it involves a costly, time-consuming, and often complicated process.
Save time and money
With a dedicated server, it’s important to realize you are responsible for monitoring and managing your server. A dedicated server may require more IT resources for upkeep.
On the other hand, cloud platforms don’t require time-consuming software installation and maintenance because server upkeep is fully managed by the cloud provider who’s in charge of the virtual operating systems. You can spend the time and money you’ve saved on other business needs.
How does cloud-based translation work?
Simply put, cloud-based translation is the process of translating your documents across the internet using a web interface. All your assets are in one place, and you can access them from anywhere, at any time—as long as you have an internet connection.
From a workflow standpoint, the web portal allows you to upload, track, and manage all your files and projects from one central location. This contrasts with the traditional way of managing translation by email (sending translation requests and files, for example).
A cloud-based solution also allows translators and editors to update using real-time tools such as a translation memory database. This differs from a physical server-based translation memory which requires a manual update at the end of each step (translation, proofreading, and editing).
The features of cloud-based translation tools
These tools offer a wide range of features designed to improve the quality of the translated output as well as the efficiency of the overall workflow and team collaboration.
Translation memories and glossaries foster consistency and efficiency
Translation memory is a database pairing a string of text with its translation. Using one ensures that translators don’t keep reinventing the wheel by repeatedly translating similar content. No time wasted, and most importantly, translations remain consistent throughout your products, website, documentation, etc.
In the same spirit, a glossary provides translators and editors with the understanding they need for terms unique to your business—which comes in handy for industry-specific jargon and product names. Even if translations are made by different people or requested by various teams within your company, you can rest assured that everyone knows the right definition and correct use of established terminology.
Context is key
Cloud-based translation tools typically offer in-context editing tools that give your translators more context by showing where and how the translated text will be displayed.
When a translator can see the environment in which the word or sentence is used, it’s much easier for them to provide an accurate translation. Rather than spending time looking for information, they can easily provide the correct translation that fits both the specific situation and the space available, like for a button or a menu in an app.
Proper user management means peace of mind for project managers
From designers to translators and proofreaders, there can be many people on your team who need access to the tools. But with different roles come different responsibilities. To minimize the risk of unapproved activities and expensive mistakes, assigning the right access levels and jobs to the right users can keep your translation projects on the right track.
Integration with other (cloud-based) tools
Cloud-based translation tools also allow you to integrate your localization process seamlessly with the systems and tools used by internal teams (developers, marketing, sales, etc.). Such tools may include:
- Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive for cloud storage.
- WordPress and HubSpot for website content.
- GitHub for file repositories.
Make team collaboration feel like a breeze
Online collaboration tools and digital workplaces facilitate increased productivity by up to 30%. A cloud-based platform makes it easy for your team members to leave a comment, and ask or answer a question—in real-time, and in the right place. Who hasn’t gone down the rabbit hole of chasing information in long chains of emails, right?
The advantages of cloud-based translation tools
Combining the benefits of a cloud server with the typical features of a translation management system offers excellent potential for your localization process. The main advantages include:
- Easy implementation of the localization process, thanks to the ready-to-use, and yet customizable workflow of the cloud-based tool.
- Easy access to the translation platform from any computer. You simply need an internet connection.
- Enhanced security against data loss in case of a system failure, thanks to the multi-server approach.
- Flexibility: Cloud-based servers allow for scalability and adapt to your translation and business needs.
- Cost-savings: There is no need to invest in complex and expensive internal infrastructure and maintenance—the cloud-based translation tool provider manages everything.
Do you feel ready to take the leap and move to the cloud?
The last decade has seen vast growth in business digitalization, and translation is no exception. With such a trend on the rise globally, it’s clear that your translation process needs modern tools to be able to help your business thrive globally. Using a cloud-based translation tool is just the start.
To keep learning about translation and make the right decision for your global business, we suggest having a look at: